I don’t know why but I love to look at the behind the scenes of my favourite soapmakers. I love to watch them work or a take look at their workspace.
Today I thought I would show you inside my soap cupboard. It doesn’t hold all of my soap supplies, mainly just the things that I might need quick access to, or the things I wash up after a soapmaking session.
So here we go…
Soapmaking Tools – a look inside my soap cupboard
My Trusty Stick Blender
Stick blenders are a must-have tool for a soapmaker. Although you can make soap without a stick blender, having one will make life a whole lot easier by speeding up trace. It usually takes me about 30 seconds of short bursts of stick blending to reach trace.
My stick blender is a relatively cheap one – about $15 from memory – however you can pay anywhere able and beyond $40 if you really want to. Personally, I am happy with my cheap one.
Lye Jug, Thermometer and Tea Strainer
I use a soft plastic 600ml jug to make up my lye water. My jug is the perfect size for a 1-1.5kg batch of soap. Soft plastic or stainless steel are great options to mix your lye water up in as glass jugs or the ones made of brittle plastic may be prone to cracking or breaking (no one wants to clean up spilled lye water).
A thermometer is useful to ensure your oils and lye are at similar temperatures when combining. Some experienced soapmakers don’t bother with keeping track of temperature, and to be honest, a lot of the time I only check my lye water is at the temperature I like to soap with (however it is said that the best results are when the oils and lye are similar temperatures). I actually can’t remember where I bought my thermometer from but you can get them from kitchen stores or some supermarkets.
When my lye water cools it forms a crusty “skin” or film on the top. I use a tea strainer that I purchased from a $2 shop to pour my lye water through and into my oils.
Silicone spoons are fantastic for scraping out every last bit of soap and are easy to clean. I have two large spoons and two smaller spoons. They are bright (so they are hard to lose) and I think they feel nice to use too. I often think I ought to buy some for my regular cooking.
I bought these guys at Harris Scarfe, but you could find similar in any good kitchen store and some supermarkets.
This green plastic jug is my most recent soap supplies purchase. I bought it at a Dollar King store and they don’t always stock them. Keep your eye out at your local discount store as you never know when these gems pop up.
The lovely pyrex jug. I have several of these in different sizes. I have a 2L one that I often use to melt my oils in the microwave, and some smaller ones to divvy up my batch of raw soap into so I can add colour. The silicone spoons work great with these pyrex jugs too, and they wash amazingly after a soapmaking sesh.
I never mix my lye water up in these as I am not sure how it will hold up with the heat generated by the lye water.
For small jobs like melt and pour soapmaking with my children, or measuring out small amounts of oils for serums, I use digital kitchen scales. The scales pictured are brand new from Kmart (I have worn out my old set). These scales go up to 5kg so are good for small batches of soap too.
I was hesitant about buying this 80ml glass beaker as it was about $6, but I must say it has been incredibly useful for not only measuring out fragrance oils, but perfume and serum making too. It has a small spout to ensure no spills when pouring into the soap or tiny glass vials (not like the shot glass pictured beside it which causes me so much wastage of oils when I’m pouring it).
You can’t have too many spoons! I use these stainless steel spoons either when I am using all 4 silicone spoons (which by the way is easy to do), or when I am stirring melted melt and pour (pictured), making bath truffles or texturing soap. The uses are endless!
My crinkle soap cutter is great for chopping up a block of new melt and pour soap, or if you want a crinkle look to your finished soap. This crinkle cutter was purchased from Aussie Soap Supplies who stock Bramble Berry products.
Safety is paramount when making soap. Lye water and raw soap is dangerous and can cause chemical burns if it comes into contact with your skin. Goggles and gloves are non-negotiables for me and long sleeves, pants and covered shoes are a sensible idea too. Soap Queen TV has a really good video all about the importance of lye safety.
I am a huge fan of piped soap! I love everything about it – except waiting for the soap to thicken up enough to pipe – I really don’t love that part.
There you have it! A look inside my soap cupboard.
What I have just shown you though is only a fraction of what I own in terms of soapmaking supplies and tools. There are moulds, fragrance oils, raw ingredients, my multi-bar soap cutter, plus my industrial kitchen scales! But they all live on a shelving unit in our home office.
I would love to hear what your must-have tools are for soapmaking. Do you keep all of your gear in the one place, or spread out like me? Are your soapmaking tools “taking over” the kitchen (or maybe the whole house)?
Let me know in the comments below!